If you’re looking for a slice of Americana and a unique dining experience, look no further than Hillbilly Hotdogs at Lesage, West Virginia. It’s between Gallipolis, Ohio and Huntington, West Virginia on Route 2.
They specialize in gourmet hot dogs but do it under the guise of pure Appalachia complete with lots of junk, an outhouse (it’s just for looks) and dining rooms made out of old school buses. They even have a weddin’ chapel on site if you wish to tie the knot with your kissin’ cuzzin.
Let’s stop here for a moment. First, it’s more than hot dogs. They have sandwiches, salads, deserts and even a vegan menu so I was able to have a cool gourmet hot dog too.
Second, I’m not a fan of anything that exploits the Appalachian region or our people as I live in Appalachian Ohio where it feels like someone is always ready to put us down. However, this place is all in good fun and and is own and run by locals. You know how it’s ok for you to say something bad about your relative but it’s not ok for someone else to say it?
Anyway….. the place dates to the late nineties. From the road, it looks like a shack with some picnic tables amidst a sea of motorcycles and cars of all make and model.
Look closer though and there’s no telling what you’ll find. The yard is filled with stuff – from old collectibles to pure junk and a lot of kitsch thrown in for good measure.
I ventured down on Friday with a friend. They have outdoor dining space but I wanted to eat in one of the school buses so that’s what we did.
I got the Lockwood veggie dog, fries and a drink for about $7.50. The dog was a lot to handle and a little messy to eat but I didn’t complain. I liked the creativity of lettuce, onion, tomato, shredded cheddar, mustard and ketchup on a veggie dog. It also comes with slaw but I asked to hold that.
My friend said his food was good too. He got something with hot dog sauce, some hot sauce and jalapeños because he evidently enjoys punishing himself!
We ate inside one of the two old school buses turned dining cars. I watched with interest as the line never really went down and people kept coming the entire time we were there.
This place has received a ton of press over the years but none more influential than a feature on the tv show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. This show practically turned this unusual roadside hot dog stand into a household name.
Want to learn more? Click here to visit their website! Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you about the other thing we did while in the area.